Tuesday, April 21, 2015

GYEEDA trial ends; Ruling on June 19

Philip Akpeena Assibit (left) and Abuga Pele
Philip Akpeena Assibit (left) and Abuga Pele

Hearing of the GH¢4.1 million Ghana Youth Employment and Entrepreneurial Development Agency (GYEEDA) scandal has ended.
Following from that, the Financial Division of the High Court, presided over by Mrs Justice Afia Serwaa Asare-Botwe, will on June 19, 2015, deliver its ruling on whether to discharge the former National Co-ordinator of GYEEDA, Abuga Pele, and a private businessman, Philip Akpeena Assibit, or to open their defence in the case in which they have been accused of playing various roles leading to the state losing GH¢4.1 million.
Pele was alleged to have recommended payment of the said amount to Assibit, when  Assibit had not performed any work to merit payment.
A Chief State Attorney, Mrs Evelyn Keelson, announced the closure of the prosecution’s case after the lawyer for Pele, Mr Carl Adongo, finished cross-examining the investigator in the case.
The investigator, Mrs Diana Adu-Anane, began testifying on March 17, 2015.
The other prosecution witnesses were Alhaji Nuru Hamidan, formerly of GYEEDA, Mohammed Pelpuo also of GYEEDA, Ms Gladys Ghartey of the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning (MOFEP), Mr Clement Humado, a former Minister of Youth and Sports, Dr Sulley Ali Gariba of the Management Productivity and Development Institute (MDPI) and Mr Eric Sunu, an internal auditor.
The state has accused Assibit of putting in false claims that he had secured a $65-million World Bank funding for the creation of one million jobs for the youth, resulting in the government parting with GH¢4.1 million.
Pele is alleged to have acted in a manner resulting in the loss of the amount to the state.
Pele has pleaded not guilty to two counts of abetment of crime, intentionally misapplying public property, and five counts of wilfully causing financial loss to the state.
Assibit has also pleaded not guilty to six counts of defrauding by false pretences and five counts of dishonestly causing loss to public property.
They are both on bail.
The investigator 
Answering questions under cross-examination from Mr Adongo, the investigator informed the court that investigations were ongoing into the rot and that dockets were handed over for prosecution as and when a phase had been completed.
She said Mr Humado approved payment to Assibit and MDPI based on recommendations from Pele.
Mrs Adu-Anane was emphatic no work was done to warrant such payment, adding that “their position that work had been done was false”.
According to the investigator, the only work that was done was the recruitment and training of 250 youth for which payment was effected.
Cabinet letter
On the claim of Assibit receiving payment for procuring a $65-million from the World Bank, the investigator denounced that notion on the grounds that investigations revealed otherwise.
Referring to a cabinet memo, which said the $65 million had been secured from the World Bank, counsel sought to suggest to the witness that the money had indeed been procured but Mrs Adu-Anane disagreed.
She insisted that the investigating team had an official correspondence from the World Bank after the team had made an enquiry.
She quoted the World Bank as saying Ghana was still at the preparatory stage of accessing the money and that it (World Bank) had not approved the release of funds.
The ruling on the submission of no case, which is yet to be filed by the defence team, has been fixed for June 19, 2015.
Mrs Justice Asare-Botwe was emphatic she would proceed to deliver her ruling even if the parties failed to file their submissions.

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